Baltimore, Washington students awarded Bronfman Fellowships

Beth Tfiloh junior Rafi Lehmann says he is “honored to be a part of the program.” (Provided)

Beth Tfiloh junior Rafi Lehmann says he is “honored to be a part of the program.” (Provided)

The Bronfman Youth Fellowships in Israel recently selected its 2014 cohort of high school students from around the country who will be given the opportunity for an immersive summer study in Israel.

Rafi Lehmann, son of Pam and David Lehmann, is a junior at Beth Tfiloh Dahan Community Day School in Baltimore. Lehmann is the student government president and captain of the mock trial and model U.N. teams, participates in both the BT choir and chamber choir and is on the school’s varsity cross country and track teams. Outside of Beth Tfiloh, Lehmann has volunteered with an inner-city public school tutoring initiative and participated in The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore’s Teen Giving Initiative.

Lehmann has been to Israel several times but said he is “looking forward to being a part of this group, meeting exceptional people with diverse backgrounds and engaging in conversation to help me delve more deeply into my Jewish beliefs.”

He added, “I’m just really excited and honored to be a part of the program.”

Talia Goldberg, daughter of Pamela Reeves and Jeffrey Goldberg, is a junior at Georgetown Day School in Washington, D.C. An accomplished singer, Goldberg is a member of the GDS singers, and the school’s chamber choir, touring choir and all-girls a cappella group for which she serves as the manager. Goldberg has also performed at Adas Israel, where she and her family are members. Outside of school, Goldberg volunteers at Martha’s Table, a food bank and social service center.

“I’m looking forward to meeting other kids who are as interested as I am in Judaism and Judaism’s place in the world,” said Goldberg. “I don’t go to a Jewish day school, so it will be cool to meet students who are as interested.”

For the application process, students were asked to write essays about experiences that have shaped them as well as essays about their relationship to Judaism. Qualifying students were interviewed in person for the second stage, meeting with a director of the program and faculty.

The Bronfman Youth Fellowships in Israel enables students to participate in a five-week immersive study with esteemed faculty as well as meet political and cultural figures in Israel. Recipients also work with a peer group of Israeli students who have been selected for the Israeli Youth Fellowship program. This aspect of the program, according to the organization, reflects founder Edgar Bronfman’s belief that “the future of Jewish peoplehood should be considered a global enterprise, forged through deep collaboration, discourse and friendship between Israelis and Americans.”

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